East West Scholarship Dinner honors student excellence
By Rodney Tanaka, Senior Communications Writer
POMONA, Calif. - 04/08/2008 -- Twenty-five WesternU students will be honored for their academic excellence and community service at the second annual East West Scholarship Dinner at Mission 261 Seafood Restaurant in San Gabriel on Saturday, April 12.
Applicants are chosen based on academic excellence, community service and financial need, said Stanley Wong, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and chairman of the East West Scholarship Committee.
“The goal of the scholarship dinner is to give financial support for students to become competent and compassionate health care professionals,” he said.
The dinner will also honor Gabriel Chiu, DO, who graduated from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) in 1996. He specializes in plastic and reconstructive surgery and aesthetic cosmetic surgery with Beverly Hills Physicians Medical Institute.
Chiu received a scholarship as a COMP student when the program was called the Asian American Scholarship, Wong said. Recognizing alumni is important, he said.
“Alumni will serve as role models for our students,” Wong said.
One newly-created scholarship this year is the Melanie S. Lim Memorial Scholarship, established by Soojung Kim, PharmD, in honor of her daughter, Melanie S. Lim, who died at age 14 in 2005 from brain cancer. Kim’s goal is to create an endowment, something that will continue to honor her daughter after she’s gone.
This shows that her daughter had a purpose in her life, and Melanie would be very pleased to know the scholarship in her honor will be going toward pharmacy students who have expressed an interest in going into community pharmacy practice, Kim said.
“I’ve always been involved in community pharmacy,” she said.
Geri Witt, honorary chairwoman of the event, has a long family association with WesternU. She and her husband, Robert Witt, became involved with COMP when their son became a student. Their son, Richard Armour, graduated with a DO degree in 1989 from COMP. Their grandson, Ryan Armour, DO, graduated in 2007 from COMP. They established the James Yee Ginn and Mae Ginn Memorial Osteopathic Scholarship to honor Mrs. Witt’s parents.
“We hope to help some deserving and very worthy students so that the tradition of providing good medical care to people in the future will be carried on,” Geri Witt said.
The students receiving these scholarships have endured many obstacles and hardships, she said.
“It’s inspirational to me to help this program in any way I can,” she said.
Among the scholarship recipients is Kolistin Tsai, PharmD ’11, who focuses her community service on health fairs and soup kitchens. She was honored and pleasantly surprised to receive a scholarship, Tsai said.
“I’m motivated to give back, but this motivates me even more, recognizing the importance of giving back to the community, how that works alongside academic excellence,” she said.
Eric Tung, DO ’11, is receiving the Wong Family Scholarship, established by Dr. Stanley Wong and his son, Andrew Wong, in honor of Dr. Wong’s mother, Yan-Hai Choi Wong. Tung said he called his parents in Taiwan immediately after finding out he won the scholarship, forgetting it was 3 a.m. there.
“In medical school, we are often overwhelmed by the amount of information we have to learn,” Tung said. “This award helps me revive some of my dreams and compassion of wanting to become a physician. It also further encourages me to continuously and actively participate in the community services that I truly enjoy.”
For more information or to order tickets, visit the East West Scholarship Dinner Web page at http://wsprod.westernu.edu/cc/cc_ew/index.html.